Snake River Canyon Park

Cattle graze Nov. 14 on endowment land owned by the Idaho Department of Lands along the north rim of the Snake River Canyon in Jerome County.

PAT SUTPHIN, TIMES-NEWS

JEROME — County commissioners will vote Monday to send a letter to Idaho Department of Lands requesting the agency’s support of restricting shooting near the Snake River Canyon Park.

Commissioner Charlie Howell drafted the letter to IDL, saying that recreational shooting currently allowed on IDL property north of the river endangers visitors to the canyon park. Visitors must travel over a road on IDL ground to reach the park.

Commissioners plan to draft a county ordinance to curb shooting on Bureau of Land Management-owned ground leased by Jerome County. Shooting would be allowed in designated safe areas only, probably at the east end of the park. They hope to persuade IDL to join them by establishing a no-shooting zone to keep the area safe.

“Target shooting has been taking place in the park area for decades,” the letter states, “but it has become more of shooting unwanted household material, with unsafe bullet travel all over the north side of the canyon rim.”

The commissioners will discuss the possible ordinance and IDL letter on Monday morning.

Enforcement of the no-shooting zones would be handled by Jerome County Sheriff Doug McFall, Commissioner Cathy Roemer said Tuesday.

“There needs to be a discussion with the Sheriff’s Office as to manpower to enforce a no-shooting ordinance in the prescribed area,” Roemer said.

The sheriff’s office has a contract with the BLM to patrol the park area and other BLM ground in Jerome County, McFall told the Times-News. But it has never had a contract to patrol IDL ground.

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The major use of the IDL ground — a narrow strip of land north of the Snake River — is cattle grazing.

“Some of the cattle grazers said they’ve had bullets fly their way when working cattle,” McFall said. “So far, no one has been struck.”

Roemer said she will sign the letter to the IDL.

“I’m not opposed to a no-shooting zone, but I don’t want to bring about a surprise ordinance,” she said. “It’s a sensitive topic, when you talk about restricting people’s use of firearms.”

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